A Great Way To Declutter

how to declutter

Joel and I bought our first house together.

It’s old, and dated, and it doesn’t have a kitchen, just an old fridge in the corner.

On my first night alone in the place, a bat came to visit Jackson and I during what would have otherwise been a lovely viewing of the riveting film Safe Haven starring Josh Duhamel, trapping us in the spare bedroom until the morning light.

We’ve almost finished the bathroom we had to put in between closing and moving day. And with one more interior wall to demo, an entire kitchen to put in, carpet to pull up throughout, painting, new floors, new fixtures etc, and with contractors here all day long, we’re living out of the master bedroom, bathroom and one spare bedroom.

All of our stuff is jammed into three closets and two bedrooms.

If we’d moved in with the ability so spread it out in the rest of the house, I probably wouldn’t be questioning it so much. And after a decade of living in New York City apartments, we likely have far less stuff than most of our suburban neighbors. But as we work to create a home we really love, I’m hyper-aware of getting rid of all our shit.

I don’t want to clutter up our lovely new digs with a bunch of crap.

I want to get rid of everything we don’t love or use, and only acquire new stuff uber-deliberately going forward.

Joel doesn’t believe we have a lot to begin with. And I’ve been informed that I’m not allowed to get rid of any of kitchen stuff because I don’t do the cooking. He uses everything, he says, so I have to keep my hands off.

The rest of the house is fair game though. And it’s time to purge. What better time to do so than when it’s all packed up and consolidated?

So I convinced Joel to join me in a little minimalism game this month. The Minimalists do this every once in a while and I’ve finally decided to jump in.

Here’s how it works:

Day 1 – Get rid of one thing.

Day 2 – Get rid of two things.

Day 3 – Get rid of three things.

And so on and so forth for 30 days.

You’re getting rid of 30 things on the 30th day! Crazy right? But amazing too. Imagine how much clutter and crap you’d be rid of in 30 days? I cannot wait.

Joel forgot to get rid of his one thing on the first day, yesterday, which made me irrationally furious on our walk to the coffee shop. But I got rid of mine: a headband I thought would be the answer to my ‘growing out my bangs’ problem but most certainly wasn’t. (If you’re thinking about it, don’t do it. You’re never going to look like Zooey so, just let it go).

Every time I opened the drawer in the bathroom vanity for the past few months, that thing got stuck. I don’t know why I kept it for so long or why I decided to pack it up and move it across town so it could haunt me in my new bathroom. A constant reminder of my ill-advised decision last fall.

Why do we hold onto things that infuriate us like that? Skinny jeans that make us feel fat. Broken appliances. Old iPhones. Each time we look at a pile of crap, or trip over something we haven’t used in year, we get annoyed, angry, stressed out and yet, we don’t get rid of it. Why?

Why do any of us hang on to the stuff we don’t like or use? That’s a question for another post.

For now, I’m pumped about this game. Would you like to join me?  You can read more about it here.

You see, minimalism is a way of thinking about life (stuff, money, time, energy) that Bridget and I have found to be an excellent antidote to the stress, overwhelm and sometimes nagging discontent we feel in this modern world. This game is a good way to test it out in if you’ve been thinking about it.

At the end of the day, who couldn’t benefit from a little decluttering, right? Nothing to lose.

I’m excited for my first, real house to be as clutter-free as possible and filled with only the useful and the beautiful. I’ll let you know how it goes.

And if you’re interested in living a healthier, happier life with less, enter your email below and we’ll send you one sentence that will help you get started today.

Also published on Medium.



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